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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Takahashi Masanori (高橋正則), better known as Kitarō (喜多郎), is a Grammy award-winning Japanese musician, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Inspired by the R&B music of Otis Redding, Kitaro taught himself how to play guitar. While attending Toyohashi Commercial High School, he started the "Albatross" band with his friends, performing at parties and in clubs. "I started out playing the guitar but then changed to the keyboards. Before one of our gigs, the drummer was injured. I had no experience at all on the drums, but I had to learn it because I was the leader of the band, and we had to do the gig…Later, the bassist had injuries, so I had to learn how to play the bass. [These accidents are] the main reasons why I can play all these instruments; I had a crash course in how to play them. It was a hard time for me, but a very good experience.”

After graduating, Kitaro moved to Tokyo to experience and become a part of the music scene, and it was there that he discovered the synthesizer. His first synthesizer was analog, and recalls he “just loved the analog sound that it made compared to today's digital sound”. His parents were first opposed to the idea of their son having a musical career. Indeed, in an effort to manoeuvre him towards their vision, they made arrangements for him to take a job at a local company. In return, he left home without telling them. He supported himself by taking on several part time jobs such as cooking or civil service work, meanwhile composing songs at night.

In the early 1970s, he changed completely to keyboards. He joined the band "Far East Family Band" and toured with them around the world. In Europe, he met the German synthesizer musician and former Tangerine Dream member Klaus Schulze. Schulze produced two albums for the band and gave Kitaro some tips for the use of synthesizers. In 1976 he left the band and travelled through Asia (China, Laos, Thailand, India).

Back in Japan, Kitaro started his solo career in 1977. The first two albums Ten Kai and From the Full Moon Story became cult favorites of fans of the nascent New Age movement. He performed his first symphonic concert at the 'Small Hall' of the Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in Shinjuku, Tokyo. During this concert Kitaro used a synthesizer to recreate the sounds of 40 different instruments, a world's first. But it was his famous soundtrack for the NHK series "Silk Road" that brought him international attention. [wikipedia]

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